Talk:Massive open online course

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Early MOOCs[edit]

The opening paragraph of this section makes the claim that "David Wiley taught what ostensibly was the first MOOC, or proto-MOOC, at Utah State University in August 2007." There is no reference for this, and the description is simply of a free course that was open to people around the world. This, by itself, does not make it a MOOC. And, if that description is enough for it to be taken as a MOOC, then it certainly does not make it the first. (Using a meaningless concept such as "proto-MOOC" could apply to any form of web-based instruction.) For the statement to be taken seriously, far more independent information and references need to be supplied, otherwise it smacks of someone retrospectively laying claim to something, and should be removed. Kmasters0 (talk) 17:07, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

Removal of Paragraph[edit]

It has been three weeks since I suggested that this paragraph be removed, and there have been no arguments against it. I have removed it, but have copied here, so that, if there is a valid counter-argument (see points above), it can be restored:

David Wiley taught what ostensibly was the first MOOC, or proto-MOOC, at Utah State University in August 2007. This was a graduate course in open education that was opened to participation by anyone around the world. What would otherwise have been a class of only five graduate students became a group of over 50 people in eight countries.

Kmasters0 (talk) 12:27, 27 November 2012 (UTC)


I suggest in the future, when questioning content, you also:
  • put a {{Cn-span|text=}} around the content in question.
  • make a good-faith effort to contact the editor(s) who added it, and any who made substantial changes to it. (You didn't mention doing this above.)
  • refrain from making uncited comments like ", otherwise it smacks of someone retrospectively laying claim to something, and should be removed". It takes away from the other points you made, creates bad will with other editors, and smacks of disdain for other editors.
Yours for a better encyclopedia.Lentower (talk) 15:50, 27 November 2012 (UTC)
Yes, you're right - I apologise. I really meant to note that, as it stood without a reference, it could look like this claim, and would be open to accusations of that; I wasn't trying to say that was the case, but I can see how it could be read that way. Sorry, no disrespect intended. Kmasters0 (talk) 10:11, 28 November 2012 (UTC)


So far, it seems these are the main contenders for the first MOOC ever: David Wiley, Sebastian Thurun and Peter Norvig (taught AI at Stanford in 2011), Mike Feerick (CEO of ALISON). I'll look into it, but if someone else gets it before me, it'd be great. rosatrieu (talk) 02:56, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

The reason the Wiley course was in the article was that it was referenced as an influence by both George Siemens and myself in our creation of the first MOOC.For example, I cite it in 'The MOOC Guide' which a reference of early MOOCs - see https://sites.google.com/site/themoocguide/ I would recommend reinserting it.

Downes 18 April 2013

Thanks Downes, I can't see any reference in the mooc guide - can you give a specific link? I think part of the issue here is that there are (at least) two histories, one is genealogical - the lineage to and out of your work - and the other is more general and might include things like distance learning generally, etc. (and see elsewhere on talk page re: pinning down that history). Anyway if you have a link that'd be helpful. Sjgknight (talk) 16:26, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

I'm not an expert on this area, but it seems that this wikipedia page has a lot of criticism about the "truthiness" of early MOOCs. See http://www.hackeducation.com/2013/05/04/ed-tech-argo-f-k-yourself/ Lukekfreeman (talk) 01:12, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Thanks User:Lukekfreeman - do you have a suggestion, some particular aspect of the page you think needs addressing, some useful links? I commented on Audrey's post to this effect - there might be a retelling of mooc history, but it's happening in the mainstream media (who may use the wikipedia page for some sourcing!), if you want to tackle that Wikipedia is "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit", I'm sure many people (myself included) would be happy to look at edits and sources, but criticism without suggestions makes that a touch difficult... Sjgknight (talk) 07:17, 6 May 2013 (UTC)

Add a section on what lead up to MOOCs?[edit]

The article would be improved by a section on what lead up to MOOCs. Dave Wiley course and wider work might get a sentence or two based on the preliminary web research I just did. Lentower (talk) 15:50, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Well, the current pre-cursor to mooc section is total baloney. Stanford might want to claim everything to do with their spin-out companies, but the moocs come from the open learning movement. It is disheartening that they even want to use the wikipedia to market their venture. — Preceding unsigned comment added by WelshCloggy (talkcontribs) 15:18, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

I don't think the claim is anything to do with Stanford (except being presented there)... I agree it's a bit odd there's nothing on the open learning movement on here, but I don't agree that the section is baloney. Maybe you could specify which bits you'd remove? (Btw, the specific Stanford reference was, I think, introduced in this rather old edit http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Massive_open_online_course&oldid=465254547 or this one http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Massive_open_online_course&oldid=465256730 ). Also I think trying to tie down the philosophy underpinning moocs is incredibly difficult, and what the 'open' means (open as in oer, or as in open to take part in, etc.) is contentious. There was some stuff on Illich and openness which could go back in? Not sure it's a precursor as much as a philosophical underpinning though Sjgknight (talk) 15:50, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Potential challenges[edit]

"With continuing pressure on Universities to offer free courses, their income base is eroded as students can choose online courses instead of paying fees.While this might initially seem to be a good thing for the individual student, the short term advantage will lead to more and more students getting degrees while the labour market might not support the supply. This will allow employers to demand lower wages and will devalue degrees." Is this guy serious?? Mastomer (talk) 10:00, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

This whole section looks like it needs rewriting/citation as it reads like original research. I'd also propose renaming the section "Challenges and criticisms", and removing the current 'criticisms' section (which in fact makes a point regarding the mooc business model - see below). Mastomer did you have a proposal on that quote? Know of any good references which summarise mooc critiques? Sjgknight (talk) 11:20, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Parked Links[edit]

Just parking a good source. Will try to include it later. Smallbones(smalltalk) 20:25, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Educause is often a good source of information too, http://www.educause.edu/ero/search?keys=mooc Sjgknight (talk) 07:45, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Good Guardian link on moocs and privatisation http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2013/apr/29/massive-open-online-courses Sjgknight (talk) 08:31, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Although I've archived it, there may still be something in the table of opportunities/challenges http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Massive_open_online_course/Archive_1#Opportunities.2FChallenges_-_a_suggested_table — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sjgknight (talkcontribs) 08:33, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Looking for some academic articles on mooc history: one article in the 'Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language' http://tesl-ej.org/pdf/ej64/int.pdf, a French https://translate.google.com/#fr/en/http%3A%2F%2Fsticef.univ-lemans.fr%2Fnum%2Fvol2012%2F13r-cisel%2Fsticef_2012_cisel_13rp.html 'sticef' article (g'translated), the http://publications.cetis.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/MOOCs-and-Open-Education.docx CETIS report 'MOOCS and HE' (.docx) - which makes too much use of Wikipedia as a source, and the JIME article http://jime.open.ac.uk/article/2012-18/html Making Sense of MOOCs: Musings in a Maze of Myth, Paradox and Possibility - which similarly relies far too much on Wikipedia as a source. There might be some bits in some of those to incorporate though Sjgknight (talk) 08:18, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Criticism of many moocs in current instantiation http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/05/06/essay-suggests-moocs-are-losing-their-original-worthy-goals Sjgknight (talk) 18:19, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Completion rates article,around 7% http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/mooc-completion-rates-below-7/2003710.article based on a friend's work so I probably shouldn't cite. Sjgknight (talk) 07:04, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

[1] interesting questions Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:54, 19 May 2013 (UTC)

MOOCs: A Systematic Study of the Published Literature 2008-2012 http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1455/2531 Sjgknight (talk) 11:59, 13 August 2013 (UTC) OER - a historical perspective http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/4915/ Will attempt to look at some of these links soon, should have lots of useful content/be useful for citations Sjgknight (talk) 13:22, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

New report from UK Govt BIS (Business Innovation Skills) "Office The maturing of the MOOC: literature review of massive open online courses & other forms of online distance learning" https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/massive-open-online-courses-and-online-distance-learning-review Looks very good and covers a) some of the debates which should be better stated on the article page here, and b) provides some sourcing for some things (e.g. the precursors section & whether MOOCs are a continuation of online/distance learning). I'll put this as further reading in the article Sjgknight (talk) 09:57, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Looks like some scholarly articles emerging recently, eg Ebben, Maureen, and Julien S. Murphy. "Unpacking MOOC scholarly discourse: a review of nascent MOOC scholarship." Learning, Media and Technology 39.3 (2014): 328-345. Sjgknight (talk) 10:31, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

Delivery platforms[edit]

I've put in a section on delivery platforms with one whole citation, even though I know nothing about delivery platforms. My belief is that this will be very important, that the open source platform MAY come to dominate, and that adherents of different platforms love to brag about their favorites on Wikipedia. Go for it!

As far as other material, I'm still looking for stuff on

  • Who takes the courses and who succeeds
  • How online testing will work
  • Data gathering and adaptations based on this data (evolving courses)
  • The apparent contradiction between serving previously successful students and claims of offering to educate the whole world.
  • The relation of connectivism to non-synchronous courses
  • Blended learning and how university customers will use the material

These are ideas that were brought up by sources that concentrated on other things (or perhaps that I just imagined) but I'd likely include if I could find good sources. Please leave any links below!

Smallbones(smalltalk) 20:03, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Looks good - in fact I think the page generally is looking much better than it was not so long ago User:Smallbones :-). Re: other material, I agree those things need more detail/adding, but I wonder about structuring (e.g. would something based on the table above be a good 'introduction' with more detail on each underneath?). Sorry I'm just dumping links here but I'm a bit snowed - these might be useful

I'll try and add others as I come across them. Educause is a pretty good source http://www.educause.edu/search/apachesolr_search/mooc?filters=sm_cck_field_super_facet%3A%22EDUCAUSE%20Library%20Items%22 Might need to archive some of the discussion on this page soon - it's getting a bit harder to follow! Sjgknight (talk) 09:29, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

Illich edit conflict[edit]

I was just trying to trim down the "precursors" section - past is just prelude - when a large section of theory showed up in the same section. I'll back off for today and see what comes up. By WP rules it needs to be cited better, but that's just technical stuff that can be overcome. Some theory in this subject (beyond connectivism) would be nice. Radical theory where we are going to completely erase the university and make all learning an individual act may be a tautology or a pipe dream, I'm not that familiar yet. So let's see what you come up with. Smallbones(smalltalk) 13:25, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

the Illich section is unsourced OR and very unlikely--he hated big universities and computers and never proposed anything remotely like a MOOC, which of course is controlled by big-name professors heavily funded by big money and based in giant universities. Illich was a "small is beautiful" person. A google search shows no one has made this argument. 15:38, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
As I said above, I think 'philosophical underpinning' would be better there, i.e. it doesn't matter whether he said it. I think in any case that he has been discussed in the context of connectivism e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Networked_learning#1970s . In any case, I wonder if there should be a section on philosophical underpinnings, perhaps including the connectivist theory there? Or whether the Illich reference should go into the connectivist section if there is a citation for that? The reference to Englebert was also removed, again, should that (again) go back in? I actually wonder if the precursor section really ought to be citing someone/something/a few things that've discussed mooc precursors...at the moment it's a bit like we're writing the history of moocs. The 'early moocs' bit onwards looks fine to me, but I'm not sure the precursors bit is very 'wikipedia'... Sjgknight (talk) 08:10, 25 April 2013 (UTC)
Pretty much agree with Sjgknight. The older history should be really brief and handled by wikilinks. Something (perhaps the whole field) could use some closer connection to some theory, or underpinnings. I'm interested now in what's going to happen in "the second round", e.g. videos and other materials will be almost certainly be reused, making them something like the modern version of a textbook - how is this going to work out? Related to blended and flipped learning Parking a link.
I've been a bit under the weather, but have intended to print this all out, take a red pencil to it, disassemble, slash-and-burn, reassemble and do a basic creative destruction rewrite. Not the usual Wiki-way, but sometimes it works . Smallbones(smalltalk) 16:55, 27 April 2013 (UTC)
A reference associating Illich with connectivism http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/523/1103
two sentences written in 2008 don't carry much weight. Illich hated gigantic systems -- 100 people was far too many for him.Rjensen (talk) 08:53, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
See my comment above though. And two sentences written in 2008 in a peer review article on the topic I think carry enough to support a sentence suggesting connectivism associates itself with aspects of Illich's philosophy, even if there is another sentence which questions whether Illich would, in fact, have been in agreement. Sjgknight (talk) 08:57, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
Illich never wrote or about Moocs except to denounce gigantism. The idea that modern Moocs with 35,000 students and one professor can serve as intimate personal links between learning partners is antithetical to the "small is beautiful" ethic that Illich preached with religious fervor. Rjensen (talk) 18:23, 14 June 2013 (UTC)

Wondering what the "cite error" means[edit]

Is this fixed now? Sjgknight (talk) 08:31, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Removing the cleanup tag reads more like an essay than a Wikipedia article[edit]

Unless anyone objects/wants to discuss here, I think it might be time to remove the tag

from this article fairly soon. It still needs improvement but I don't think it does read like an essay any more, and it is a very different article from the one that tag was attached to. The one thing that makes me hesitant is the 'MoocGuide' references, and the 'precursors' section - but I'm not sure those concerns justify keeping the tag on. Sjgknight (talk) 08:41, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

New Section - MOOCs as a research platform - ?[edit]

Lots of the uni attention (particularly at the launch of EdX as I remember) was re: changing pedagogy, learning about how students learn, ability to use big data, etc. So this might warrant a separate section. Could include:

  • Lytics lab at Stanford led by Roy Pea
  • Learning analytics and its associated conference
  • Media and press-release quotes re this stuff at launch and since
  • Critique - much of which may link to other sections, e.g. just replicating old lecture format, issues with big data, etc., consent, etc.

Any other things that should go in? Is this worthy of a section in its own right? Sjgknight (talk) 07:02, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Absolutely. Anything to do with generating it's own data, research on that data, changing methods based on the research, etc. Maybe slightly broader. Smallbones(smalltalk) 20:50, 3 May 2013 (UTC)
Just parking a possible source The Hijacking of MOOCs Smallbones(smalltalk) 22:16, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
Doesn't really relate to research platform...perhaps move it up to the 'parked links' section. This is quite an active discussion among cmooc and OER people many of whom feel the mooc philosophy of free and open education for all of early moocs is being overshadowed by a model driven by venture capital. Sjgknight (talk) 07:03, 9 May 2013 (UTC) In fact, this link is already in the parked links section. Sjgknight (talk) 07:06, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Included poster[edit]

Poster exploring the meaning of the words "Massive Open Online Course"

In the article - I was actually considering using it as a source for the intro - "What does Massive mean?', etc. when it struck me, just use the poster, which is proper licensed. Smallbones(smalltalk) 03:46, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

The poster has a few serious graphic problems. Also I don't think it adds anything that couldn't be done in prose. Bhny (talk) 05:45, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
What are the graphic problems? I don't think having hashtags and a handle are issues (and in any case, it's CC-BY so we could always cut that bit off). I think it's a good starting point for some of the issues (some of which are dealt with in text) re: moocs. Also while it could be done in prose...it probably isn't at the moment, so I'd rather see the poster in (or prose changed)than nothing. I'll undo the removal for now, but reply if you disagree Sjgknight (talk) 06:12, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
It is ugly, overly complicated and it's based on an old demotivational posters meme. Bhny (talk) 06:37, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
I removed it again. Apart from the ugliness you can't have a graphic that advertises the author's twitter account. That is spam. Bhny (talk) 06:48, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
Ok the ugliness is irrelevant - I respectfully disagree with your aesthetic opinion; the second claim re: overly complicated - well, I disagree, what's complicated about it, it strikes me as a nice entry point on each of the mooc letters; As for the graphic, I agree it could be nicer and less of a cliché design but I don't think that should preclude it from inclusion. I'm not that bothered but I do think you should reply to my substantive points above re: it being a good entry point to some of the issues with each of the letters, and - until other textual changes are made - probably better than nothing. I also don't see what the issue with having someone's twitter handle on it is (particularly given, as above, we could just crop that section) it isn't spam, it is attribution Sjgknight (talk) 06:54, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
no graphic on wikipedia has the author's twitter handle, that's not negotiable. You can't just leave it there until someone crops it out. I disagree that the graphic is better than nothing. Bhny (talk) 07:00, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I'm really wondering about some of the rules that seem to be made up here, as in "that's not negotiable."

  • " I don't think it adds anything that couldn't be done in prose." I disagree, but even if it is true, so what? Is there a rule that anything that could be described in prose can't have an image? If so, please cite chapter and verse.
  • "you can't have a graphic that advertises the author's twitter account. That is spam." Chapter and verse please, or perhaps an opinion from WP:Spam. At the very least, you could just crop the bottom bit if you dislike it so much.
  • You are free to express your aesthetic opinion, but when 2 people disagree with you and it's just you that claims it's ugly, you should refrain from imposing your opinion on others.

I'll put the graphic back as it summarizes much of the material that should be in the lede, but is hard to document otherwise (as it is only in bits and pieces spread out in dozens of places). Smallbones(smalltalk) 12:00, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

WP:CREDITS Bhny (talk) 13:28, 14 May 2013 (UTC)

The handle isn't in the infobox, it's on the image. And the keyword in WP:CREDITS is "discouraged" not "non-negotiable". So I still think the image should stand (until someone uploads a cropped version, has another image or thinks the text can/should do what the image is doing) Sjgknight (talk) 13:32, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
That was the closest I could find (and the graphic *is* in the infobox). I don't think there is a specific policy for advertising your twitter handle in a graphic! That's just spam to me. Anyway I see it's gone now, so thanks to whoever did that. Bhny (talk) 17:21, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
I'll confess on two counts, trimming the graphic, and being quite grumpy when I see a "new rule" that I've never seen before. Apologies. Smallbones(smalltalk) 17:28, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
This is my first time here, so pardon the newbie speak. I created the MOOC poster, and I'm fine with the cropping. I created a cleaner cropped version at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mathplourde/10425003764/ and could not figure out how to update it. Maybe Smallbones can help? Mathplourde1 (talk) 18:20, 22 October 2013 (UTC) Mathplourde1 (talk) 18:23, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Done and thanks on 2 counts: 1. creating such an informative poster; and 2. improving it and being so polite in requesting the re-upload. Smallbones(smalltalk) 20:01, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Refs & External links[edit]

User:Ronz has added a ref and EL template. I don't think this reflects the primary issue with the article, so I'm going to undo them - but this is space to discuss that. There aren't many external links in text, the links section has been massively cut back to only provide the most useful links, and most material in the article is well cited. Some examples of where people don't think this is the case might be useful if the templates are put back on. Sjgknight (talk) 06:47, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

There are simple things that can be done to improve the article quality and help editors to take on the more difficult problems here: format references properly, remove inappropriate inline links, find more and better references. These are basic steps in improving any article. The tags are there to point out that these simple steps need to be done. Perhaps they'll also attract some experienced editors with time to take on the bigger problems. --Ronz (talk) 16:02, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Ok, but wikipedia allows any referencing that links to the appropriate source...including inline WP:REFB, which is why I asked for examples above - if you've added the tags presumably you've seen something wrong, so just a note to say what would be quite useful, or adding a [citation needed] tag, it feels a bit 'drive-by' taggy otherwise (WP:TMC) (thanks for the changes you've been making whilst I type this though!). For example, I've just checked and as far as I understand what you mean by inline referencing, there was only one inline link - which I've removed, so I'm very unclear how the EL tag is appropriate on this article. There are 101 references, I agree some stronger references wouldn't go amiss but I'm inclined to think fewer stronger references would actually be preferable - but I'm not sure that'll happen until the academic literature is established. Possibly or or would be more appropriate in this case?
Always best to focus on content.
I made a quick sweep, and I think it was a mistake to add the external links tag. I removed one, and am leaving the video links.
Yes, we could have tags specific to cleaning up the references. Feel free to add them.
I had been focusing on the "Recent developments" section, which might be the worst of it. Information sourced only with press releases, long lists of example, details on specific approaches should all be referenced with independent and reliable sources. This article, and the section in particular, is a magnet for advertising and isn't being maintained as it needs to be. --Ronz (talk) 16:45, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Connectivist design principles[edit]

The term x-mooc has not been describet in this section. Most existing moocs are built op on this 'instructional model'. Within the near future other types of moocs will emerge so may be beside of the section of connectivist design principles a section typology or ontology might be created. I propose to add the following not yet existing type of mooc in such a section: g-mooc ( game based mooc). Using a (social) game to motivate participants to organize groups, to deliver starting information, to create knowledge, to learn — Preceding unsigned comment added by Michelenotari (talkcontribs) 15:00, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

I'd suggest that the best initial step would be to better contrast cmoocs and xmoocs in that section (sorry, can't do this myself at the moment as I'm away). I'm not sure it's time to put a typology/taxonomy/ontology though as I don't think an established one exists in the literature so it would probably be original research. Also, should such a section become salient, I think it would be deserving of a separate section in part to give it proper attention, but also because connectivist design principles have a special place in the history of moocs and their development and so are also deserving of particular attention. Sjgknight (talk) 19:19, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

I agree that a more important distinction is between cMOOC and xMOOC. I will try to make that edit at some point. One great and pity quote I will try to find is a quote to the effect that "In an xMOOC you watch a video, in a cMOOC you create a video. ggatin (talk) 15:43, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

I propose that MOOCs in Europe be merged into Massive open online course. I think this should be fairly uncontroversial but at the moment I can't see any reason to have two separate articles dealing with European/US (+ all others) MOOCS. Perhaps if they radically differ in the future, or there is some governing authority over a set of localised MOOCS that might warrant a future split but no such reason currently exists. Discussion of the merger, and suitable location (headings, etc.) would be valuable Sjgknight (talk) 14:30, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Having looked at edit histories I now see that a chunk has (quite rightly) been removed from this page to create that new page. I think there is some useful information on the MOOCs in Europe page, but Wikipedia is not a directory WP:NOTDIRECTORY - so just transferring the list of links back won't be enough for it to be kept on the page. Sjgknight (talk) 14:51, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
As there have been no further contributions to this discussion in almost 2 weeks I'm going to carry out that merger Sjgknight (talk) 15:21, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Pedagogy and notability[edit]

The content of the following paragraph was removed before as not relevant. I've slightly altered the wording (as it looked a bit lacking in WP:NPOV/a bit like WP:ORIGINAL SYN issue) but I'm still not sure if it should remain. I think there is something notable about interesting pedagogy on MOOCS - particularly given the fairly traditional 'talking head' delivery of many of them - but I'm not sure a standalone example is enough, and in its current format it doesn't tell us much about how interesting the delivery really was. There is also an issue of whether interesting pedagogy belongs in this article, in some other article, or whether Wikipedia should wait for a good secondary source to give some summaries of pedagogy across MOOCs before that kind of content is included here. Thoughts? Also in January 2013, MOOCs saw new efforts in pushing the envelope with regard to pedagogy with the launch of "Gender Through Comic Books," a course taught by Ball State University's Christina Blanch on Instructure's Canvas Network, a MOOC platform launched in November 2012.[1] The course, which used examples from comics to teach academic concepts about gender and perceptions, was an example of experimentation on the open online teaching forum.[2]

Consistent terminology -- what is and what isn't considered a MOOC[edit]

I'm seeing references to projects like Khan Academy and Udemy referred in this article both as MOOCs, and as distinct from MOOCs. Are they MOOCs or not, and what is the distinction? →ozhu (talk·contribs) 05:37, 12 September 2013 (UTC)

They shouldn't be referred to as MOOCs, I think the general consensus is because they aren't "courses". However, they often are "massive" and at least "open" in the sense of free (rather than OER), and of course Online, and they're related to development of MOOCs - hence inclusion on the page. Sjgknight (talk) 08:21, 12 September 2013 (UTC)
Seems that MOOCs are hosted by traditional college institutions, and other platforms like Udemy and Khan Academy can be hosted by individuals. rosatrieu (talk) 01:20, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

Suggestions for improvement?[edit]

I want to do some work improving this article. I've heard that there are some people who are discontent with the state it is in, so anyone have any concrete suggestions? missing perspectives from the article? →ozhu (talk·contribs) 22:22, 14 September 2013 (UTC)

This talk page summarises a few discussions had, although it would be great to have more input on all of those (and might be worth soliciting off-wikipedia to encourage people to contribute). I know there's been some discussion on the wider web about coverage of cmooc xmooc, but it's hard to engage with that without the discussion happening on wikipedia, with reference to specific content. Summaries of discussion on this page:
  1. Is the early history of moocs adequately covered?
  2. Related to the point above, should there be a 'philosophical underpinnings' section? Where does Illich fit (see discussion above with User:Rjensen)
  3. Again, related: Does the 'precursors' section properly describe what lead to moocs, and does it do so in a 'wikipedia way' or is it Wikipedia:ORIGINAL SYN.
  4. There's a section on 'parked links' - can they be incorporated (there are some others under the 'delivery platforms' section)
  5. 'MOOCs as a research platform' - mooc data, promise for Learning analytics, etc. could be created as a new section, possibly within a section on instructional design or novel pedagogy (see section on 'pedagogy and notability' above

Sjgknight (talk) 10:01, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

Cool, thanks. Good to know that some of your concerns with the article are similar to mine. →ozhu (talk·contribs) 22:03, 17 September 2013 (UTC)
Great to see renewed interest in this very important and timely article. The CommOER project will help coordinate users interested in work here. I will solicit reviews from some thought leaders in the field and encourage them to post here. User:Sjgknight, you've worked on this a lot this summer. Other ideas? -Sara FB (talk) 16:09, 25 September 2013 (UTC)
I'd avoid the expression 'thought leaders' for a start. I don't think there's a shortage of ideas for improvement, people editing is what's needed, possibly an editathon to coordinate efforts would be helpful. Sjgknight (talk) 07:31, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
+1 to Sjgknight - 'thought leaders' is a lazy way of expressing this. Dajbelshaw (talk) 07:37, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
In its current state, the article seems to have a lot of excess information and could be more succinct. Under the History section, the list of MOOCs in different countries can be converted into an infographic or chart. It might also make sense to make one of the sections that are getting longer into a new page. rosatrieu (talk) 03:18, 19 July 2014 (UTC)

MOOC criteria[edit]

(This discussion started on the user talk pages over whether EduKart is a MOOC, it turned into a discussion about some MOOC criteria and we decided to continue it here)

EduKart does not provide degrees, it works in collaboration with universities and industry-specific regulating bodies, as the usual MOOC provider. The activity on EduKart is focused on courses and interactive features, like webinars or support from subject matter experts.

Regarding your comment education for fees, indeed, the usual MOOC provider, if it is for profit, it finds other ways to make a profit. However, there are MOOC providers, like Udemy for example, opting for charging fees for courses. It is a "typical vs. atypical" issue. The founder of Edukart mentioned in an interview listed in the references section that he had to adapt to the current Indian context by charging for courses instead of exams, as well as developing a franchise network, in order to offer an assuring physical presence of an authorized person. Bemanna (talk) 14:00, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

Hi Bemanna, thanks for the message and for contributing to the MOOC page. I've just lost one reply in a firefox crash! So, I've inserted a cut down version of the EduKart text under 'related educational practices'. EduKart isn't a MOOC platform, and while the definition of "MOOC" is contested and complex, there need to be some filtering factors. This may change over time, but at the moment EduKart isn't calling itself a MOOC provider (ditto Udemey which is also in that section) and it seems to be doing something different to what most people would consider a MOOC. Moreover, Wikipedia is not a directory WP:NOTDIR - so it doesn't need to cover all MOOC providers necessarily, unless they're noteworthy. Finally, the level of coverage of individual providers on the article page (versus their own pages) versus the coverage of MOOCs generally - their history, definition, broad nature, etc. - is important; I don't think any one provider is particularly discussed at the moment and it's probably weighted by noteworthiness. I hope that answers the concern, do reply if you want to discuss further though Sjgknight (talk) 14:53, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for your reply. Media coverage considers EduKart as a MOOC with some specific features, for example this article:
Unlike the hot MOOC platforms in the U.S., EduKart is pursuing a slightly different model as part of its approach to the Indian market.
i.e. implying that the basic model is a MOOC platform, but adapted to the Indian context. I also remarked the comments below the article, even those who were skeptical of this model did not contest its basic nature, but considered that "the competition from more established (and free) MOOCs will be difficult to beat", suggesting to begin with a freemium stage.
I know very well the notability rationale and I uphold it in my edits. EduKart is obviously more notable than many of the non-US MOOC providers listed in that section. And it is also older than any of them, it would be first in the timeline. These were my reasons to include it there. As for the business model section, I find that the business model employed by EduKart is different and interesting (the main points would be the paid courses and the franchise network) and I considered that an additional short explanation in the text body, with the main points listed in the table, would add value to that section (I think EduKart is notable enough to be presented there as a business model). It would also gear the section towards a worldwide view, the current three models discussed there are all from US. Bemanna (talk) 16:09, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. My reading of the article you're posting is "Unlike a MOOC EduKart does xyz" yours is "Unlike these MOOCs this MOOC provider (EduKart) does xyz"...I'm afraid I disagree with your reading. Re: Business model, the whole point of MOOCs is that they're free to take, whereas EduKart courses are not. If we include courses which charge fees on the MOOC page as MOOCs then why not include University of Phoenix, The Open University and various other institutions which do that at scale, etc. It seems closer to projects like Khan Academy, Udemy, and others - all of which, like EduKart - are interesting projects, but they aren't considered MOOCs - if EduKart is given heavy attention outside of the section I've put it in, I'm not sure what the rationale for not moving Khan Academy, etc. out of that section would be. Perhaps they will become thought of as a type of asynchronous (or whatever) MOOCs at some point, but I don't think that's the case at the moment. The table that you'd initially changed is directly taken from a report on business models of MOOCs by the way, I suppose that could be appended to when appropriate, but it's a good secondary source which claims to have reviewed models across MOOCs and didn't include things like Khan Academy or EduKart, etc. which I suppose also provides support for what I'm saying, and I'd want something quite weighty to persuade appending on the table. We could perhaps copy this conversation over to the talk page. Sjgknight (talk) 16:27, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
Given the way the article is structured, initially, I pondered where to include EduKart, "non-US MOOC provider" or "related practices"? I saw that the "non-US MOOC provider" section included websites in collaboration with universities or industry-specific regulating bodies, while the "related practices" section included websites offering education for self-improvement. This seems to be the criterion there and that was why I chose the former. Probably better section titles would be something like "MOOC providers in collaboration with accredited bodies" and "MOOC providers for self-improvement". In this sense, the article is inconsistent, for example, Udemy is listed first as a "related practice", then it is presented as a normal MOOC in the sections "MOOC hype" and "MOOC experiences and feedback".
EduKart is a MOOC platform in collaboration with universities and industry-specific regulating bodies, which, unlike the typical ones from the US, charges for courses, not for exams, as a result of adapting to the Indian context. I understand that the sentence from that article can be read in another way, but I think that the context is obvious for the initial reading. The difference from the US MOOCs is considered a "slightly different model" and the next sentence continues with "every course on the platform comes with a price tag", implying that the rest is the same as the aforementioned "hot US MOOC platforms" (and this was what was understood by the people who commented below). I gather that your reluctance to consider EduKart as a MOOC comes from the fact that the courses are paid. However, this is not a core criteria to define a MOOC, many of these platforms are for profit, and the fact that they charge fees for exams, and not for courses, is just a matter concerning the adopted business model, it is not a principle (this is also the reason I consider that EduKart business model should be covered in the "business model" section). The word "open" in MOOC stands for open-door academic policy, also openness. In this sense, EduKart fits in the concept of openness (the process of course creation in collaboration with the accredited bodies, the interactive webinars etc.), probably the universities you gave as examples of institutions charging fees for courses would not fit in. Bemanna (talk) 19:13, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
The word "open" is slippery, the 'original' openness of MOOCs was absolutely not just about open-door academic policy, it was about openness of resources (as in OER), freely available, and a more open learning experience (in addition to there being no academic requirements - i.e. open-door academic policy). While current MOOCs aren't based on OER, they still maintain the 'free' element - the fact that they charge for exams is moot because taking the actual course is free. The section on mooc providers outside the US is nothing to do with accredited bodies, it's that they're outside the US (which is where most of the focus has been), and the 'related practices' (what you call 'moocs for self improvement') are just not moocs...which is why they're listed in that section. Udemy is an odd case because they have both free and paid for courses (as I understand), but I'd be more inclined to tighten reference to them as a MOOC provider than to say that their inclusion indicates a looser definition of what a MOOC is at the moment (as I've said before, who knows how this will change - maybe we'll be calling all education MOOC-y by next year). With regard to whether the EduKart model should be in 'business model' section (and especially an existing table), I really do think the fact we have a good secondary source which has reviewed business models, and not (yet) included the idea of paid-for-moocs pushes towards not including until further secondary sources (ideally providing summaries like that one) come out.

It would be good to get other people's views on this, I suspect starting to address this issue will be useful for tightening the page up more generally Sjgknight (talk) 08:38, 5 October 2013 (UTC)

The mentioned source includes as a variable the concept "free to access" along with "for profit", "certification fee" and "institutional credits", thus accepting the idea that the courses can be free or not. The table is also included in the article at "MOOC experiences and feedback" section.
The paper also discuses the evolution of the profit related variables:
First (p.6):
The original aim of MOOCs was to open up education and provide free access to university level education for as many students as possible.
Then, it continues with (p. 7):
xMOOCs can be seen as part of MITs continued development of their Open Courseware initiative offering the opportunity to learners from different parts of the world to access high quality teaching and learning for free. However, the opportunity for branding and marketing for institutions is also recognised and seen to be valuable. In addition, venture capitalists are interested in the financial capital that can be generated by xMOOCs and have set up commercial companies to help universities to offer xMOOCs for profit, e.g. Coursera and Udacity.
Then, the conclusion at the end of the paper (p. 18):
MOOCs promise to open up higher education by providing accessible, flexible, affordable and fast-track completion of universities courses for free or at a low cost for learners who are interested in learning.
If there is a cost, the authors make no distinction concerning the way it is charged. In order to reflect the current situation, I think it is necessary to add at the "Business model" section the model based on franchises and paid courses, the sources about EduKart are good enough. Bemanna (talk) 12:37, 5 October 2013 (UTC)
I would have preferred to get consensus here before making changes, but I won't revert again now (although I'd certainly support other editors who did/made substantive changes). If we're going to say that the following fall under MOOC models why don't we just go ahead and redirect the page to "Education":
  • Courses fees directly from enrolled students
  • Franchise network
  • Companies paying for employees' trainings
  • Colleges paying for students' trainings

Sjgknight (talk) 11:52, 9 October 2013 (UTC)

I note that googling "what is a MOOC" returns our lead para and that our source includes no definition (oops). The second is a video that goes with "course, open, distributed, participatory, lifelong network learning", then (paraphrasing) "free with shared work product". The next one (WAPO) also says "attend for free". Here's Oxford, which works for me: MOOC "a course of study made available over the Internet without charge to a very large number of people".
Lfstevens (talk) 18:20, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
But what about sources like the one from CETIS? That was initially mentioned supporting the "free" attribute as a prerequisite, but actually reading it revealed another story. Probably the definition from Oxford should be updated, from the point of view of that paper, the clock of this definition stopped at the page 6 from the outline given above. Bemanna (talk) 19:02, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
The consensus on definitions is that 'free' is key. I think the thrust of the CETIS report is also as that, although it discusses related phenomena. For example, MOOC business models discusses only EdX, Coursera & Udacity (not other initiatives). The fact is that that particular CETIS report doesn't define what it means by moocs, although it does seem to distinguish mooc things and other initiatives. Where moocs are referred to, they are free and that is the big innovation (see e.g. page 16 on future potential of free courses). The CETIS report also talks a lot about OER...a principle component of which is openness as in free material (amongst other things). It'd be good to get some more views here Sjgknight (talk) 19:19, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
I fail to see a consensus. This is the conclusion of the paper:
MOOCs promise to open up higher education by providing accessible, flexible, affordable and fast-track completion of universities courses for free or at a low cost for learners who are interested in learning. (and mentioning previously "free to access" as a yes/no variable)
Page 16 mentions a scenario and a model. Besides the fact that it talks about a scenario and a model, it does not even preclude the possibilities of other scenarios and models. And the reality presented in this paper, discussing specific cases, invites the reader to consider other models too.
And I remarked that it does not make a sharp difference between platforms that would have initial features and those that developed other subsequent features. At least in the case of profit related variables it presents an evolution, as it happened in real life. I also remarked how there were no issues about having in Template:MOOC examples such as Khan Academy or P2Pu, but there were issues about Udemy and EduKart, which probably are even closer to those initial features of a MOOC (of course, as mentioned previously, being closer is not a medal, the evolution should be taken into consideration, I mentioned this only to ask why some evolutionary features are accepted, while others are not, despite all sources and what I see as a common sense). Bemanna (talk) 19:52, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
It's not our business to worry about Oxford's needs. My guess is that either the definition will evolve or that other terms will emerge to describe this rapidly-evolving world. E.g., "free" might change, while "online" may become "mobile". Also, is a free online course that only 10 people sign up for a MOOC? Let's just go with what's out there and report any variations. E.g., if an RS says Edukart is a MOOC, then it's a MOOC, unless another RS disagrees. Since we seem to have a disagreement, let's lead with the part that is not disputed and handle the dispute in the detail. Lfstevens (talk) 20:04, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Here's something from CACM: Dellarocas, C.; Van Alstyne, M. (2013). "Money models for MOOCs". Communications of the ACM 56 (8): 25. doi:10.1145/2492007.2492017.  edit "MOOCs lose money. Most are free." Lfstevens (talk) 04:40, 17 October 2013 (UTC)
It can be used at the beginning of the section Fee opportunities, in the paragraph about freemium model, as a reference for the fact that most are free. Bemanna (talk) 11:24, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

Dispute over "technical wonder"[edit]

I removed this: "Radio was the technological wonder of the 1920s, with broadcasts that were free to the audience." as uncited hyperbole. Obviously that decade had many wonders, etc. Another editor restored the text. Rather than get in an edit war, I ask for other editors to comment. Lfstevens (talk) 20:33, 14 October 2013 (UTC)

I agree, "The widespread adoption of radio in the 1920s provided means to distribute free content through broadcasts" might be better? What do you think? Also, note the discussion above re: that whole section - it's arguably entirely WP:OR given the lack of citations to secondary sources discussing this history. Sjgknight (talk) 08:14, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
obviously the decade did not have many wonders comparable to commercial radio--it's hard to think of any. It was a radical breakthrough, just like the telegraph & the Internet, only it was one-way. The point is that people treated it as a a major tech breakthrough and that is the same mood that greeted the Internet & MOOCs. Here's the cite that asserts it: " affirmed there was still wonder in the world was confirmed by the response to radio in the early 1920s."[3] Rjensen (talk) 12:30, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
automobile ownership... "Obviously" isn't so obviously. And just because a single citation doesn't talk in a neutral tone it doesn't mean we shouldn't. Generally my views on the section are reflected above though Sjgknight (talk) 13:55, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
Auto ownership surged after 1908 (Ford Model T was 1908 -- it was old hat by 1920s.) As I said, it's hard to think of rival wonders" . We use words like that in the rare historic time when it's true. Like TV and the Internet were "wonder" in their day. It links these breakthroughs together and gives the sense of excitement. Rjensen (talk) 17:50, 15 October 2013 (UTC)
It's not up to us to argue whether it was or wasn't. It's up to us to report what RS say and if they disagree, report that, too. But hyperbole is hyperbole...Lfstevens (talk) 19:51, 15 October 2013 (UTC)

I'm assuming this discussion is why the OR tag was put on the history section. I hate these tags - it seems like you should either edit the section to show what you want, or keep quiet, not just put a tag on it and tell other people to do the work. My take on the radio stuff is that it was important in the 1920s but that there were a dozen other precursors that were just as important. Has anybody gotten around yet to saying that the book was the first MOOC? I'll trim the radio section drastically , and also add something from the Times Higher Education. Smallbones(smalltalk) 04:05, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

let's not trim the radio section....It's a very similar model for credit courses that was adopted by many universities in the US & other countries in the 1920s and 1930s--it covered more schools for a longer period than the MOOC. History is good at pointing out predecessors. Rjensen (talk) 05:13, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
Sorry User:Smallbones I added that tag, partly as a rushed way to encourage more discussion here (which I've started and noted in various places on improving the article), I hope I'll have more time to do some substantive edits at some point. I think someone has described the book as the first MOOC in fact! To User:Rjensen yes I agree radio is important and certainly related, but me realising that isn't enough (unless I go and write an article on it), the point is it could easily be seen as WP:OR. For example, while I suspect Downes has talked history elsewhere, in this talk he goes back as far as the 80's but not earlier http://halfanhour.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/sustainability-and-moocs-in-historical.html It would also be best if the lineage of MOOCs linked to high quality articles discussing previous innovations (so perhaps radio belongs on the distance education page, which is linked from the MOOC page, possibly with some choice examples or v. slimmed down history) Sjgknight (talk) 07:45, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
the history shows that the "Massive open course" go back a century and more. Only the "online" (= internet) angle is new. The history -- as documented by several historians--also demonstrates that hype is high and completion rates are under 10%. Rjensen (talk) 08:05, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
"The history"? I don't know how many ways I can say "I agree, but...", this isn't particularly an issue about the relevance of the lineage of MOOCs (or what the lineage is) it's a discussion about Wikipedia and sourcing... Sjgknight (talk) 08:19, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Use of article to highlight recent press releases and to soapbox in general[edit]

This article has had problems for a long time, and they're not improving.

Press releases (warmed-over press releases,etc) shouldn't be used without independent sources.

Recent events that aren't verified with multiple independent sources should be given very little coverage - maybe a single sentence. --Ronz (talk) 21:03, 25 November 2013 (UTC)


These new sources are a great improvement:

However, highlighting the existence of articles [2] is inappropriate. Instead we should be incorporating material from such sources.

Also note that the WP:LEDE should introduce and summarize the article.

The citation is where the authors, publisher, publication date, etc are identified. Rarely should that information be incorporated into the article directly as was done here. Further, we need to take care generalizing from individual research studies, rather we should work from research reviews instead, to avoid WP:NPOV and WP:OR problems. --Ronz (talk) 16:20, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

The very first MOOC[edit]

References: http://www.sexarchive.info/TELE/sexology/GESUND/ARCHIV/january_2003.HTM and http://www.sexarchive.info/TELE/html/october_2004.html both from http://www.sexarchive.info/Entrance_Page/Archive_Telegram/archive_telegram.htm

Prof. Erwin J. Haeberle www.sexarchive.info haeberlee@web.de — Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.42.205.203 (talk) 14:04, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Do you have any reliable independent sources? ElKevbo (talk) 15:40, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Way too much soapboxing and pushing the advantage of cMOOCs[edit]

The point of this article should be to convey information about the history and current status of a very widespread and important educational innovation.

I recognize that the ideals of Wikipedia are similar to those of cMOOCs, but way too much space and energy is devoted inside this article to promoting that model. I came here looking for factual information without partisan spin and was quite disappointed. More reliably sourced material and less POV-pushing, please. KerrMudgeonMT (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 15:30, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

I, on the other hand, want to see and learn every aspect of 'Massive Open Online Courses' expanded and explained in great detail. — Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 12:33, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Benefits/Price-model for providers[edit]

What motivates an institution of higher learning to provide free or low-cost courses online? Is it profit driven or is it prestige? I'll look for some references and reasons. In the article here, I do not see a prominent section, "Benefits to providers". I see famous professors wanting to 'give' to the community and eager students, young and old (like myself, olde) and that extends to the universities where they teach. Do the universities think that successful online students will end up there on campus? — Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 12:30, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Some suggestions for improvement[edit]

I still see room for improvement in this rather important article, which to my mind has come a long way very quickly, yet could go even further to profile the phenomenon and many of the (ever-shifting!) issues surrounding it. Some off-the-cuff suggestions on my list might include:

  • Restructuring the article to avoid sprawl and equation of MOOCs with online education in general
  • Finding any repetitive sections and joining them into one; grouping isolated factoids (e.g. about completion rates) and placing them in a broader context
  • Locating and including the David Wiley reference(s) discussed by others above, e.g. Downes
  • Relegating the list of MOOCs all over the world to another article devoted to that topic in particular (i.e. a world tour of MOOCs) - this article is, in theory, supposed to primarily examine what a MOOC is
  • Examining why ALISON figures so prominently as an "early MOOC" in this article - if it deserves this kind of attention, then let's find the relevant references and include them! (Current citations do not IMO support the claim that it is often referred to an early MOOC.)
    • (added by Postdeborinite:). If ALISON is so prominent, it should also be listed as a provider in the "Providers" section...?
      • @Postdeborinite: The key question is whether it deserves the attention (which is very questionable). Having said that even if it does, whether it is indeed a 'MOOC provider' and a notable one would still need addressing for inclusion in the providers section (which shouldn't just be a directory of providers). Sjgknight (talk) 15:05, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

These are just some ideas. A good place to discuss this and other open education-related articles one is the fairly new WikiProject Open, which seeks (among other goals) to improve articles on open educational resources. Right now its talk page is devoted mainly to the WIKISOO Writing Wikipedia Articles course, but it will remain an open forum for discussing articles like this one after class concludes in April 2014. Tally ho! :) - Sara FB (talk) 03:26, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

An excellent news source for use in this article[edit]

PBS Newshour: "Can Online Courses Replace Campus Education?" aired on 2014/08/27. (Transcription forthcoming.) ChristineBushMV (talk) 23:24, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Burlingame, Russ. "Teaching Gender Through Comics With Christina Blanch, Part 1". Comic Book. 
  2. ^ Armitage, Hugh. "Christina Blanch (Gender Through Comic Books) on teaching with comics". Digital Spy. 
  3. ^ Susan J. Douglas (2004). Listening in: Radio and the American Imagination. U of Minnesota Press. p. 52.